All Things Assyrian
UFC Hires Assyrian Who Interrogated Saddam Hussein
By Johny Payne
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George Piro (Left), UFC CEO Dana White.
The UFC has hired George Piro to oversee its new drug testing regime. The UFC's current drug testing mechanism features the MMA organization working with USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency).

Since mid-2015, the UFC athletes in the USADA testing pool have been subjected to drug testing by the agency to discourage athletes from using banned steroids/PEDs (Performance Enhancing Drugs).

Earlier this month (October 2023), USADA CEO Travis Tygart revealed that the UFC has decided to end its partnership with USADA.

Meanwhile, the UFC's executive vice president and CBO (Chief Business Officer) Hunter Campbell and senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitsky confirmed that the UFC has brought in DFSI (Drug Free Sport International) to replace USADA. The UFC-USADA partnership ends on December 31, 2023, and the UFC-DFSI partnership commences in January 2024.

The DFSI's anti-doping program helps notable sports organizations such as the NCAA, MLB, NFL, NBA, etc. For more than two decades, the DFSI has been implementing anti-doping programs.

Former FBI agent George Piro is expected to serve as the UFC's new anti-doping program's independent administrator. The Lebanon-born American is best known for the crucial role he played in the interrogation of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein after the latter's arrest in 2003.

At the age of 12, George Piro and his family fled Lebanon during the nation's civil war and immigrated to the United States of America. He eventually joined US law enforcement in California, worked for the Stanislaus County Drug Enforcement Agency, and later for the FBI.

The 56-year-old Piro is of Assyrian heritage and is multi-lingual -- capable of speaking English, Arabic, and Aramaic (Assyrian) fluently. He also speaks French. His fluency in Arabic made him one of the rare FBI officers in the early 2000s who could use his linguistic prowess to efficiently conduct the Saddam Hussein interrogation.

Furthermore, George Piro has previously served as a Supervisor in the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force in the Washington Field Office and as a SAC (Special Agent in Charge) in the FBI Field Office in Miami. Piro also served at the FBI's Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as the Assistant Director of the International Operations Division.

A closer look at George Piro's combat sports connection ahead of his anti-doping work with the UFC

As noted, George Piro has been roped in to serve as an independent administrator in the UFC-DFSI anti-doping program. Piro is no stranger to the combat sports world. For years, Piro has been training in the BJJ realm under the guidance of former MMA fighter Wilson Gouveia at the world-renowned ATT (American Top Team) gym in Florida.

In a 2022 interview with WSVN-TV, the retired FBI agent expressed his love for the sport of BJJ and training in the grappling-centric art. Piro indicated that he utilizes the skills he's acquired in his law enforcement work in BJJ and vice-versa. As implied by his social media, the BJJ enthusiast continues to hone his martial arts skills and compete in grappling tournaments.

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